2023 Exceptional Support of ALS Research Award

Kathy Eisen (L) & Dr. Andrew Eisen (R)

The ALS Society of British Columbia’s 43rd Annual Volunteer Celebration & Awards Presentation

Contact: Wendy Toyer
Executive Director, ALS Society of BC
Cell: 778-999-6257
[email protected]

Wednesday, April 10th, 2024

Beyond Funding: How the Eisen Family is Transforming ALS Research

Recipient of the 2023 ALS Society of BC Exceptional Support of ALS Research Award
– Dr. Andrew & Kathy Eisen from Vancouver, BC.

RICHMOND, British Columbia – Since the inception of PROJECT HOPE, Dr. Andrew and Kathleen Eisen have supported fundraising. In fact, they are the top individual donors, contributing $110,000. Aside from supporting PROJECT HOPE financially, Dr. Eisen was on the UBC recruiting committee to hire a clinician scientist to lead PROJECT HOPE. He was instrumental in the hiring of Dr. Erik Pioro.

Dr. Eisen’s contribution to research is recognized worldwide, publishing over 300 papers on Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and co-authoring numerous books.

“Most research funding comes from two major sources, corporations and government (primarily carried out through universities and specialized government agencies, such as CIHR). A smaller amount of scientific research is funded by charitable foundations, exemplified in the past as ALS Society of Canada. Grant application is a lengthy process as the granting agency need to relate to the researcher(s)’s background, the facilities used, the equipment needed, the time involved, and the overall potential of the scientific outcome. The process of grant writing and grant proposing is time consuming and a somewhat delicate process for both the grantor and the grantee: the grantors want to choose the research that best fits their scientific principles, and the individual grantees want to apply for research in which they have the best chances but also in which they can build a body of work towards future scientific endeavors.

In general, 80% of applications are rejected, not because they are bad, but because of very limited funding, and sustainability is difficult. Further, available funds are frequently distributed such that the research outcome is difficult to establish”.

Through PROJECT HOPE, the ALS Society of BC aims to fund sustainable ALS research at UBC, without the need for “lengthy grant writing” but which will incorporate accountability, in particular how has the funding moved ALS further in terms of treatment and a cure. This is why Kathy and I support this exciting research project.” said Dr. Andrew & Kathy Eisen.

“Dr. Andrew and Kathy Eisen have supported the ALS Society of BC since the inception in 1981. In fact, Dr. Eisen is a founding member of the Society. Their generous philanthropy is greatly appreciated by everyone living with ALS, their families, and caregivers. Aside from funding ALS research, the two hold an endowment with the ALS Society of BC to support quality of life programs provided by the society. The fund currently has on deposit, $1,650,000. The annual disbursements fund patient service programs.  Words cannot adequately express my gratitude for their compassion, support, and friendship. They are truly inspirational.” said Wendy Toyer, Executive Director of the ALS Society of BC. 

Dr. Andrew and Kathy Eisen’s award was presented at a “Celebration of Volunteerism and Service” ceremony hosted by the ALS Society of BC on Tuesday, April 9th, 2024, in Richmond, BC.

Download logos and a high-resolution photo of the award recipient here.

About ALS BC: The Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Society of British Columbia (ALS BC) was founded in 1981 by Dr. Andrew Eisen, ALS patients and family members to meet the physical and emotional needs of people living with ALS and their caregivers. Our mission is to cure ALS through funding research, while advocating for and supporting people living with ALS. 

About ALS: Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also referred to as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a fatal neurodegenerative disorder that affects the person’s motor neurons that carry messages to the muscles resulting in weakness and wasting in arms, legs, mouth, throat and elsewhere. Typically, the person is immobilized within two to five years of the initial diagnosis. There is no known cause or cure yet, but there is hope through the ALS Society of BC.